NIMO Boise Biographies

Steve Gage - Incident CommanderSteve Gage - Incident Commander
Steve's fire career started in 1969 as a seasonal firefighter for the Kern County Fire Department. In 1972, he became a member of the Fulton Hotshots on the Sequoia National Forest. After two seasons on the crew he accepted a full time appointment with the Kern County Fire Department. He served in every rank within the department and held several staff positions. He has been a member of a National Incident Management Team since 1992 and Incident Commander on California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 from 2000 to 2002 when he stepped down to accept the position of Fire Chief. Steve retired from the Kern County Fire Department at the end of 2003 to make way for his son to join the department.

He then took a job with the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES), Fire and Rescue Branch as the Deputy Chief of Operations. At OES his primary responsibilities were to provide oversight for the Mutual Aid system within the state, manage a fleet of over 125 vehicles and work closely with the State Fire Marshal’s Office managing the California Incident Command Certification System.

When the Forest Service opened a new position as a liaison to FEMA's National Incident Management System (NIMS) Integration Center, Steve applied for and was appointed to this new position. The position provided a link for the wildland fire community and the other agencies in regards to NIMS.

Steve has an A.S. degree in Fire Science from Bakersfield College and is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He has a Lifetime Limited Teaching Credential and has taught Fire Technology at Bakersfield Community College, Command and Control classes at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Hazardous Materials for the University of California Extension program, and is an instructor/evaluator for the Advanced Incident Management at the National Advanced Fire and Resource Institute in Tucson, Arizona.

Brent Spencer - Logistics Section ChiefBrent Spencer - Logistics Section Chief
Brent is the Logistics Section Chief for the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) and works remotely from Vernal, Utah.  Spencer, a 35-year Forest Service employee, has held a number of positions that have included: Recreation Group Leader for Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area; Recreation and Lands Staff Officer for the Bighorn National Forest in Sheridan, Wyo.; Recreation Program Manager for the Heber Ranger District in Heber, Utah; District Silviculturist and Fire Management Officer for the Heber Ranger District in Heber Utah; and Timber Forester on the Beaver Ranger District in Beaver, Utah.
Brent has participated on incident management teams since 1981, and is an instructor in fire and incident management courses for the last 30 years including a international training assignment to India and a working IMT assignment in Australia. 

He enjoys fly fishing on the Green River and searching for large lake trout on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.  Married and father of six children, he likes to spend his free time with his wife and grandchildren.

Dan Kleinman - Operations Section ChiefDan Kleinman - Operations Section Chief
Dan has 35 years of wildland fire and all hazards experience.  His experience includes engines, fire prevention, fuels management, and hotshots.  He was a member of the Fulton Hotshots for 13 years with 8 years as Superintendent, was promoted to Battalion Chief (AFMO) in 1995, Division Chief (DFMO) in 2000, and NIMO Operations Section Chief in August 2006.

He has been actively involved with Incident Management Teams in the positions of Division/Group Supervisor, Operations Branch Director, Operations Section Chief, and Incident Commander since 1990.  Complex incident management experience includes many wildland fires, several missions of national significance including the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, Columbia Shuttle Recovery, Greensburg Kansas Tornado, and four hurricanes. Dan also performed as an Operations Section Chief Type 1 on wildfires in Australia in 2007.

During his career, he has been actively involved as an instructor in wildland fire suppression, incident management and leadership.  He was a long-term member of the NWCG Leadership Committee working on the development and delivery of Advance Leadership programs.  He is a student of High Reliability Organizations, Human Factors, Decision Making, and Leadership Development.

Additional incident qualifications include: Incident Commander Type 1, 2, & 3; Complexity Level 1 Prescribed Fire Burn Boss; Operations Branch Director; and Division Supervisor.

Dan is married and father of three children.

Elizabeth Cavasso - Planning Section ChiefElizabeth Cavasso - Planning Section Chief
Elizabeth’s career with the U.S. Forest Service began in 1975.  Through 1991, Cavasso gained fire and resource management experience working in engine, helitack, handcrew, wildlife, timber, dispatch, and fire planning positions.  Prior to accepting her NIMO position, she served for 15 years as the Forest Fire Management Officer for the Modoc National Forest.

For most of her career, Cavasso has engaged in regional and national committees dealing with budget, organization, qualifications and other strategic Fire and Aviation Management issues.  Most recently, she served on the Incident Management Organization Strategic Planning Committee and cadres for Risk Management Workshops, S-520, L-480, staff rides, and other 400+ level courses.

Cavasso has served in the planning section for Incident Management Teams for over 20 years.  Non-traditional assignments include ARRA State Reporting, R2 Bark Beetle, Engine-57 Support, FEMA COOP Exercise, Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, Emergency Support Function 4, and food distribution in Micronesia.  Cavasso attended University of California at Santa Cruz, Cal Poly State University, and Humboldt State University.

photo of Gladys RossGladys M. Ross – Finance Section Chief

Gladys started her U.S. Forest Service career in 1981.  She has worked on several National Forests including the Klamath, Sierra, Coconino and Mendocino NFs.  Gladys has been involved in Incident Business Management since the early 1980s.  She has in-depth knowledge and experience in business administration and has over 10 years experience as a Type I Finance Section Chief.  While serving as a Finance Section Chief on one of the Southwest Area Type I Teams, her team responded to the World Trade Center Incident where the team supported the search and rescue teams and assisted FDNY with the planning efforts. 

Gladys enjoys instructing Incident Command System courses and served a four-month detail to the National Advanced Fire and Recourse Institute as a Training Specialist.  She is a Paralegal and previously worked as a Legal Administrative Specialist for the Albuquerque Service Center. 

Mike Ferris - Information OfficerMike Ferris - Information Officer
Mike is currently a Public Information Officer (PIO) for the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO), and is based out of Boise, Idaho, but located in Troutdale, Ore.  Prior to this, he was the Public Affairs and Fire Staff Officer for over 16 years at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in Hood River, Ore.

Mike has served in various public affairs and fire management positions for the U.S. Forest Service entirely in the Pacific Northwest Region during his 34-year career.  He was also a long-standing member on the Pacific Northwest National Incident Management Team #2 as their lead public information officer for over 16 years.

During his career, he has been assigned to numerous national wildland fire assignments, one international wildland fire assignment, and five FEMA all hazard assignments including: FEMA mission to logistically support FDNY during the World Trade Center attack (2001); NASA support with the Space Shuttle Columbia recovery (2003); FEMA Hurricane Ivan recovery in Baldwin County, Ala. (2004); FEMA Hurricane Rita recovery in Beaumont, Texas (2005); and FEMA tornado response and recovery in Greensburg, Kan. (2007).

Mike began his public information officer interest in 1985, and is presently an instructor for the Public Information Officer (S-203 and S-403), Command and General Staff (S-420 and S-520), and Fire Management Leadership for Agency Administrators training courses.

Tom Johnson - Safety OfficerTom Johnson - Safety Officer
Tom is the Safety Officer for the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) and is based out of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.  He has 33 years of experience in fire management, including 21 years as a Type 1 Safety Officer and Type 2 Operations Section Chief on Fire Use and Incident Management Teams.  He also maintains red card qualifications as a Type 2 Operations Section Chief, and a Human Resource Specialist. 

He has served in a variety of Forest Service positions working in three regions (Regions 2, 3 and 4) and five National Forests as a: Forest TES Biologist; District Biologist; Forest Resource Staff Officer; Zone Fire Management Officer; Forest Fuels Specialist; and Forest Fire Staff Officer.  His incident management team work, has however, been focused primarily in Safety and Operations. 

Tom has a B.S. in Biological Sciences; an M.S. in Wildlife Biology; and a Minor in Fire Ecology.  He has been one of the National Subject Matter Expert for Command and General Staff, Safety, Operations, and Prescribed Fire (S-301, S-404, S-430, S-520) and teaches whenever he can.

Tom has two daughters, one son, two grandchildren, three dogs and blasts and casts as often as he can and can always use someone on the drift boat oars.

In the Spotlight
photo of wildland fire and operations